I wondered why he was staring, from the other side of the well-designed, super-interior-decorated smoking lounge of the smart new hotel that we were having a drink at. It was Friday, I was splashing out and having a cocktail to celebrate the end of a long week - the ominous sounding Strawberry Haze. It was sweet and pink and in a champagne glass. I thought, perhaps, that's what he was looking at. But it wasn't.
He was a round man, a typical-looking South African man. He didn't quite fit in with the bright young things at the next table in their designer clothes and put-on animated expressions. They were talking about a company golf day, cars with big engines, girlfriends who have facials. He wasn't talking about anything, being alone. And staring. I decided to smile.
A minute later he came over and offered us a drink. G mistook him for the waiter, very funny. We fumbled our way out of that and he joined us, apologising for staring. Not some mad, starey, stalker, just a small town man in The City Beneath the Mountain for a conference. Alone, lonely, and sweet-as-can-be.
I can't remember when last a man offered to buy me a drink (oh, except that rugby lout occassion, which hardly counts), or met a stranger in a bar and made friends with him, exchanging numbers because he knows a guy who knows a guy who could be a great help to me. It just doesn't happen all that often in the city. I miss Small Towns and their Small Town People, like me.